'Voltswagen': US rebrand as German car giant eyes electric future

·2-min read
New Volkswagen (VW) ID.4 SUV electric cars are ready for delivery at the customer centre of German carmaker Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, northern Germany.

German auto giant Volkswagen said Tuesday it is renaming its US subsidiary as "Voltswagen," calling the moniker a public declaration of its "future-forward investment in e-mobility."

The announcement means Virginia-based Volkswagen of America will now be known as a Voltswagen of America.

The move does not affect the German parent, which will continue to be named Volkswagen.

The US unit, which is introducing a new all-electric sport utility vehicle this month in US dealerships, accidentally posted a press release about the planned name change on Monday, raising questions about whether it could be an April Fool's Day joke ahead of April 1.

A Volkswagen US spokesman said Tuesday the announcement was originally intended for April 29 and that the name change reflects its transforming fleet.

"This name change signals that VW is transitioning away from the internal combustion engine and to e-mobility," spokesman William Gock said.

"We foresee our cars being all electric in the US by the end of the next decade, and we hope the attention we're generating here will help communicate these goals and commitments to all."

VW's plan for shifting away from conventional cars is similar to that of General Motors, which introduced a new brand design earlier this year as part of an avowed redefinition of the company to what GM calls a future of "zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion."

Garnering attention for VW's electric models will be key to their success in an increasingly crowded market that includes not only other conventional automakers, but also tech-forward players like Tesla and several startups.

In VW's case, the shift to electric autos also marks an opportunity to redefine itself after the bruising "Dieselgate" scandal, which led to billions of dollars worth of government settlements and a shakeup of company leadership.